Recommended stocking densities for ornamental fish/aquatics kept in a pet retail environment
In line with a decision made by PIJAC Canada’s National Board of Directors, the Association was asked to prepare a set of recommended stocking densities for pets kept in a pet retail environment. This document represents the fifth segment of the exercise and refers to fish. The following draft is the result of some research done from a compilation of documents from around the world. At this particular point in its development, the document reflects the expertise identified and selected by the staff of PIJAC Canada. Among the references used to build this document, we consulted; the Pet Care Manual from Pet Care Trust UK, the National Code of Practice from the Pet Industry Association of Australia and the OATA Water Quality Criteria.
The following assumptions have been taken into account to come up with the recommendations appearing in this document. The following are a compilation of assumptions based on information from the documents listed in the above background.
- Definition of “pet retail environment”. A pet retail environment means any place or premise used in whole or in part, whether on a permanent or temporary basis, for the purpose of retail sale, trading, bartering, or otherwise transferring pet animals to the public. In addition to the traditional pet shop or wholesaler, pet retail environments shall include the keeping for transfer or the transfer of pet animals at temporary facilities such as flea markets, mobile facilities, department stores, merchandise outlets, discount outlets, pet animal shows conducting a sale, and other types of retail outlets.
- “Fish” means any aquatic animal.
- The minimum needs for the aquarium will allow fish the ability to swim and turn.
- Fish are not subjected to rapid fluctuations or extremes of temperature or chemical composition of the water.
- Fish are not subjected to extremes of light.
- “Aquarium” means any glass, plastic, acrylic or other enclosure used to house a fish but does not include bagging/cupping while transporting a fish outside a companion animal establishment.
- Notwithstanding the other assumptions, it is understood that while this document specifically refers to stocking densities, it does assume that all other pertinent animal welfare considerations, as outlined in other PIJAC Canada publications, are being met.
With the previous assumptions in place the criteria for stocking density for fish is based on water quality is determined by testing (by test strip or chemical testing kit).
Water Quality Criteria
Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) Ltd.
For more information, see also the OATA Water Quality Criteria handbook.
Stocking densities – Ornamental Aquatic Organisms
It is virtually impossible to determine the quantity of aquatic organisms to be kept in a system purely on a weight or number of aquatic organisms per unit, volume, or water surface area.
The variation in holding system used, the quality of husbandry and the types of aquatic organisms stocked vary so greatly that it would render any such system too complicated to be practical or too simple to be useful.
The maintenance of water quality standards can be used to determine working stocking densities.
Water Quality Criteria (1mg/l = 1ppm)
Cold water species
max 50mg/l above ambient tap water
Tropical Freshwater Species
max 50mg/l above ambient tap water
Tropical Marine Species
recommended 5.5mg/l (never lower than 4.0mg/l)